IN THE MODERN WORLD

There are few things in the world that we can count on.  All of us know that the people we love will one day be separated from us for one reason or another.  Our jobs are never really secure and even our abilities can disappear.  Our home can be taken away from us by fire, storm, flood or by some other disaster.  It is a wonder that with all this worry and anguish we are able to conduct our lives with any stability and organization at all.

Isn’t there anything in the world we can look to and trust as a form of stability?  Has life always been this way on the planet?  When people look for the answers to these type of questions, the place they turn to is their religious beliefs.  I feel so blessed to have learned The Buddha and His Teachings.

It is amazing that The Buddha who lived on this earth over 2,500 years ago can still guide us in this modern fast-paced world we live in.  Yet, it is true that His Teaching is as relevant now as it was then if not even more so.  We are living in a time when we have moved away from the Dharma due to what we call an “advanced society.”

The technological and scientific achievements have brought us wonderful possibilities.  While allowing us to have a more comfortable life, they have also brought about complex dilemmas and have taken us away from our spiritual and human needs.  This increases our craving and delusion.  As the problems this creates get more and more difficult, the more anger and frustration we develop.  Before we know it, we have lost sight of who we are and don’t even realize it.

We as a society have gotten far afield from our purpose.  What is our purpose and how do we get to it?  According to The Buddha we can free ourselves from this ever changing and unstable world.  The attainment of Nirvana is within our ability.  We can find unsurpassed peace, and happiness by following His Teachings.  After all isn’t it happiness that we all really want?  It is possible to find true joy by following the past set out for us by The Buddha.

So when we find out having all the trappings of all our material gains doesn’t bring happiness, we can take refuge in The Buddha, The Dharma and The Sangha.  These are truths that won’t change.  The Buddha is our master guide who will never lead us in the wrong direction.  The Dharma, The Buddha Teachings,  is like a mountain which will stand firm against all forces.  The Sangha is a constant symbol of determination and strength.  The Three Jewels are as relevant in our modern world as they were in an ancient world.  The only difference now is that there are more people existing in need of their guidance.

This is the reason why Buddhism is spreading so rapidly in America.  Americans from all walks of life after chasing the American dream sometimes find it to be a nightmare.  When finding such a confusing environment around us, we need to seek out a solid truth of unchanging quality.  Buddhism has this unwavering truth unveiled by the Buddha.  There can only be one truth and it cannot change.  If you find your truth changing, beware for it is not truth.

The Buddha is our guide now after two thousand five hundred forty five (2,545) years, because He was enlightened and discovered the truth.  Even after this long period of time, none of The Dharma needs to be changed.  Nothing needs to be added, nothing needs to be taken away.  It is a perfect jewel.  It is a perfect work of art.  It is a religionless religion.  Nothing needs to be added or omitted.  As it is perfect, it has never caused any harm to anyone or anything.  Quite the opposite, it has only brought happiness and peace to everyone it has ever touched.  Some people will see The Dharma as the ultimate truth and some people are not yet ready to see.  Those of us who accept it must keep it alive by practicing it for the benefits of ourselves and for others.  We don’t need to force it upon others, but many who are interested, eventually will accept  it.

Buddha’s Teaching is a way of life, very practical.  Buddha says: “You can change your life.”  Start with no belief, start with empty.  That is the only way to come to truth.

(5/6/2005)